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Sasko Lazarov
culture night 2021

Culture Night promises a 'national moment' as events take place across the country

Here are some of the highlights from tonight’s national event.

CULTURE NIGHT RETURNS for its 15th year tonight – and unlike last year, people will get to enjoy in-person events across Ireland.

For those who can’t or aren’t able to take to the streets however, there is also a large range of online cultural events to enjoy. Culture Night is the night of the year where arts and culture practitioners and venues throw open their doors to people for free. Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the event had to take place online, but this year looser restrictions and the high vaccination rate mean thing can get back to some sort of normal (the usual guidelines do apply to in-person events, of course). Around 80% of the events this year are ‘offline’.

After such a strange and difficult 18 months for the country, the organisers are encouraging people to “discover and delight in our national moment” that is Culture Night 2021.

Culture Night is brought by the Arts Council in partnership with local authorities and cultural organisations throughout the island of Ireland and puts a spotlight on Ireland’s many cultural offerings and institutions.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said that Culture Night/Oíche Chultúir “has become a significant date in the country’s cultural calendar in the last few years”.

“This year it takes on even greater significance,” she said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, it gives us a much-needed opportunity to celebrate as a nation our rich and diverse culture and arts sector. It is also important to acknowledge that most of the events scheduled this year are to be held in-person marking a major turning point in our road to recovery.”

She commended the Arts Council, local authorities and arts groups throughout the country who put the programme together “despite continued challenging circumstances”.

Separately, a night-time economy taskforce was established by Minister Martin to bring together stakeholders from across Government and the night-time economy sector to approach reopening. And as part of the work of this taskforce, Martin’s department has made funding available to the Arts Council to put on a number of events on Culture Night, directed towards enabling venues to remain open later as well as hosting electronic arts events in Dublin, Limerick and Galway.

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council said she wanted “to extend our deep appreciation to everyone who has worked hard to make Culture Night part of a safe return to arts and culture”. 

What’s on tonight?

A huge amount of events are set to take place tonight – you can find the full list on the Culture Night website, but among the highlights are:

  • Draw Along With Laureate na nOg 

Presented by the Arts Council and Laureate na nÓg, Áine Ní Ghlinn in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland. Áine will read from her Irish language story Boscadán, and will be joined by illustrator Tarsila Krüse who will draw along while children can listen to the story and design their own robot. This is accessible through the Culture Night website and the video can be used in the classroom on Culture Night and at home. It will be available for 72 hours from this morning.

  • The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

The gallery celebrates World Music Evening with a collection of music and dance from around the world including Maracatu Ilha Brilhante (MiB), Farah Elle and The South Sudanese Song and Dance Troupe.

  • Traveller tinsmiths, Dublin

James Collins and Tom McDonnell, two of the last remaining Traveller tinsmiths in Ireland, will give a traditional Traveller tinsmithing demonstration in Wood Quay Amphitheatre, Dublin 8. Traveller women, Molly Collins and Sheila Reilly, will also be on-site to share memories about the traditional Traveller life.

  • Ulysses for kids, Dublin

Through performance, song, and storytelling, James Joyce Centre – Ulysses For Kids, will bring Ulysses to life and explain the elements at the heart of the book: the importance of curiosity; the trickiness of family relationships and love; and why everyone needs a place to call home.

  • Bódhrán workshop,  Mayo

Glenisland National School, Mayo is hosting a 100% interactive Bodhrán workshop where everyone will get their hands on a bodhrán and learn to play along to famous Irish songs.

  • Irish poetry: Teanga – Tongue, Cork

At this Cork-based event, Julie Field, aka Julie Goo will weave her Irish language poetry from her recent debut collection DÁNA (Coiscéim), with her award-winning slam poetry. She focuses on the common themes of equality, inclusion, gender & LGBTQI issues in both languages across her work.

  • Martin Parr – 40 Years of Photography in Ireland, Roscommon

Over in Roscommon Arts Centre, people will get the chance to see some of the photos the renowned photographer has been taking of Ireland since the late 1980s. Between 1980-1982 he lived in the West of Ireland, and photographed the area where he was based. He has returned many times to continue this work, and his photos show how Ireland has changed over the decades.

  • RTÉ

The national broadcaster will celebrate its partnership with Culture Night with specially commissioned programming, content and reports. will offer a selection of events from across the country. Arena on RTÉ Radio 1 has been featuring projects and events in the days leading up to the night; the Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott on RTÉ lyric fm with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will have a Culture Night theme and feature a reading of Peter and The Wolf by Tommy Tiernan (it will be streamed live online via RTÉ Culture). There will also be a Nationwide Culture Night special, which “will bring stories from arts communities who have struggled and triumphed in the last year”. Finally, The Late Late Show will celebrate Culture Night with a specially commissioned opening performance.

For more information on Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir 2021 check out

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